Hampshire Council plans to save £55m over the next year, including £22m by cutting IT and other overheads, renegotiating contracts, cutting senior management costs and freezing recruitment. Social workers will be allowed to apply for voluntary redundancy, but a spokesperson said this would only be authorised if service delivery was not affected.

In a report to councillors, Norfolk Council's leader Derrick Murphy, of the Conservatives, said: "I acknowledge the pain [the job cuts] will cause for staff and their families. We will do our utmost to manage these reductions with as few compulsory redundancies as possible. However, compulsory redundancies will be necessary to achieve the speed of transformation we seek and balance the council's books." Public sector union Unison criticised the government for forcing councils to take such drastic action.

General secretary Dave Prentis said: "In Hampshire, children and adults' services look likely to be hardest hit by these huge cuts. How will vulnerable people who rely on these vital services cope with such a strained service?" [related_posts limit="3"]